Coffee is the perfect drink for getting going in the morning, or for savouring the rich flavours from a good bean.
Different products produce a wide variety of aromas and sensations, and the debate of Espresso Beans vs Coffee Beans rages on with coffee aficionados as to which is better. In this article, we will look at the differences between the two, and what’s the best choice for the type of coffee you want to make.
The first thing to know in regards to Espresso beans and regular coffee beans is that there is not actually any difference between the two in terms of the type of coffee bean that they come from. Most coffee in the world comes from two different strains of bean, Robusta or Arabica, and beyond that, the differences come from the way that the beans are processed before being brewed.
You may see Espresso beans on sale in a store, and usually, they will be a much darker roast with the aim of providing a darker and stronger final product, but this isn’t as much to do with being an Espresso as opposed to being to do with the final flavour.
Where the difference between espresso beans and coffee beans becomes relevant, though, is the coarseness to which they have been ground. For a normal coffee, you will typically have the bean ground to a medium coarse level. This provides plenty of surface area to extract the oils and flavours, while reducing the chance of over extracting.
Espresso coffee, on the other hand, is very finely ground. This is because of the way that an espresso is made, with very little time for the water to mix with the bean, so the increased surface area allows more of the bean to be extracted in the shorter amount of time.
We know that the beans used to make regular coffee or espressos are the same, and there are many similarities with the final product. Usually, when you buy a pre-ground package, you will be getting a blend of various types of bean, and those marketed as for Espressos are blends that the manufacturers believe are the best tasting for that preparation method.
Making normal coffee is a simple process. It typically involves taking a medium ground bean and mixing it with water. Depending on the machine you use, this will then be filtered by using a paper filter or, in the case of a French Press, a wire one. This process requires the water and coffee to steep for a few minutes to ensure the flavours are extracted and gives you the ability to adapt the process depending on your preferred taste. Once brewed, the coffee will be good to drink for a couple of hours and will be smooth and delicious. It can take a while to perfect the best cup of coffee, though, and alternative methods have been introduced to produce something different- this is where espresso machines come in.
Rather than steeping the beans and water, espresso machines use pressure to force the water through the beans. For this process to work the beans must be ground very finely, and you need a special machine to keep the process moving. Espressos are usually served as small shots, so this method can make the drink in a very short amount of time because the water is essentially being pushed straight through the ground coffee and into your cup. In fact, it will only take about 15 or 20 seconds, as opposed to the several minutes needed to make a regular cup of coffee.
The resultant Espresso coffee has three parts to it, known as the Heart (the dark liquid at the bottom), the body (the lighter brown center) and the Crema (the top layer). Once the espresso shot has been served, it should be drunk very quickly, as these three sections will start to mix together in as short as 10 seconds. The taste will soon become bitter if you don’t, and it doesn’t last anywhere near as long as a normal coffee would.
One of the great things about coffee is the number of different ways in which it can be prepared – none as clear as the difference between making a regular coffee and an Espresso. Regular coffee can be made in larger quantities and will retain its flavour for several hours, whereas Espresso needs to be consumed quickly to have the best experience. In a store, if you are deciding to buy Espresso Beans VS Coffee Beans, you should be aware that they are all made from the same type of bean, and the only real difference will be the amount that it has been ground – much finer for Espressos, and a bit coarser for a regular coffee.